Did Novak Djokovic Deserve to Compete?
Djokovic’s refusal to get vaccinated has resulted in a spiral of problems for him
Ever since the COVID-19 vaccine came out a year ago, many people have refused it for a variety of reasons. This group has included a number of professional athletes. For example, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has been adamantly against getting vaccinated, but is only allowed to play in the Nets’ home games, which has been affecting the team in many ways. Novak Djokovic has also refused to take the vaccine, which has caused court cases, deportation, and an unfathomable amount of backlash for him personally and the sport of tennis more generally.
Djokovic is one of, if not the best tennis player in the world. With 358 weeks as the top ranked tennis player and 20 solo Grand Slam titles, it’s impossible to argue the fact that he is one of the most dominant players of all time. Unfortunately, the Serbian tennis player’s talent was not on display in the Australian Open this past January, largely because of his vaccination status.
The tournament announced on November 19th, 2021 that each player had to be vaccinated to participate. Novak got around it by saying that he had a medical exemption, so he was originally allowed to play. He then tested positive for coronavirus before the tournament and even lied about his quarantine on a medical form for the Open. Once he landed in Australia, Djokovic was immediately detained by authorities and they tried to deport him for having a visa that was soon to expire. After quarantining in Australia for four days, awaiting an official trial, the tennis player was deported to Dubai and may not return to Australia for 3 years.
While his vaccination status likely didn’t affect the ruling to deport him, Djokovic has been unable to make progress in his fight against the Australian court to overturn the ruling. Due to the ruling and vaccination status drama, he has been shunned by the public and received lots of hate from fans. He has also gotten support from people who like that he’s standing up for his general beliefs, as he has stated he doesn’t believe in any vaccines.
It’s a rare and unexpected situation, but we may begin to see this type of scenario a lot in the future. Perhaps Djokovic’s ruling will lead to more athletes getting vaccinated to avoid a similar fate. Novak has undoubtedly shown that we will have to learn to adapt to these instances sooner rather than later. With that being said, should Novak Djokovic have been allowed to play in the Australian Open, which he was favored to win?
Photo Credit - Tennis World